Carolyn's Reviews > Lulu in Marrakech

Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson
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Nov 17, 08


DIANE JOHNSON CAN DO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS...
It's likely I will never again read one of Diane Johnson's novels. Despite being one of the most interesting and intelligent American authors around, she insists upon wasting her talent inventing tales featuring tiresome, silly heroines with no morals. In book after book we are confronted with what could be a fascinating story but the main character is so vapid and predictable that we lose interest rapidly. I had to force myself to stay the course until the end of this book. In her ongoing resentment of the double standard in life for men and women, Diane Johnson invents scenarios in which the heroine gets to act like "a man". The character in this book is no different. The preface says that "Readers will fall in love with this endearing young woman." Newly-appointed CIA operative Lulu Sawyer is about as endearing as a retarded tarantula (dumb and dangerous). She drifts along in life, completely open to sleeping around with whoever is handy (would she sleep with someone to get information? Yes!) and somehow we're supposed to find this admirable and interesting because that's how men act (and men aren't judged and men are happy is the silent moral of the story). In this book the heroine even "progresses" to murder and that without much of a conscience, either. A female James Bond. How liberating! Lulu's lazy promiscuity and immorality (only hinted at in this book, true) is just as damaging and soul-destroying as the moral and physical imprisonment forced upon the women of Islam. I had hoped for and expected so much more from this latest work. If you like Diane Johnson, read "Natural Opium: Some Travelers' Tales" or "Into a Paris Quartier". That gives you an idea of the superb level of writing that she is capable of doing.
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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy The real title should be "Clueless in Marrakech"--the main character, Lulu, has a condescending, colonialist mentality that makes her far from "endearing" as the dust jacket copy suggests. With just a smidgen of conscience and zero cultural sensitivity, the eponymous protagonist is highly unsympathetic. It was unintentionally amusing when she described a Saudi rival as "self-centered" and "dumb". As someone who once lived and taught in Marrakech and elsewhere in Morocco, I was appalled by some of her observations.





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